NORWAY – Former Selectman Ron Snow was charged Monday with stealing money from Norway-Paris Cable TV while serving as its accountant, according to station manager Steve Galvin and police Chief Rob Federico.

Galvin said Tuesday that $29,352.01 was taken from the station’s account over a two-year period. He said he hired Snow in 2003, dismissed him November 2006 and brought in an auditor last month to investigate the money shortages.

Snow, 58, of 292 Lake Road in Norway, is an employee with Three Sixty Management Services in Paris.

Snow refused to talk to a reporter Tuesday without his lawyer present.

Federico said police believe Snow took nearly $30,000 from the local access television station, which is funded in part by cable franchise fees paid to the towns of Paris and Norway by the local cable provider Time Warner Cable.

“That’s what we at this point suspect,” Federico said. “We believe we can prove somewhere near that amount was taken, but we also have an ongoing investigation that could turn up more.”

Federico also said it may not be appropriate to call Snow an accountant since he is not licensed as a certified public accountant with the state.

Snow was arrested by Norway police Detective Gary Hill and arrived at the county jail at 9:25 a.m. Monday He posted $2,500 bail at 2:48 p.m.

Snow was a Norway selectman from 1993 to 1999 and ran unsuccessfully for the post in 2003 against Leslie Flanders, campaigning on a platform of fixing roads and revitalizing the downtown.

Galvin said Tuesday that he first noticed problems with the budget in 2005. His concerns included checks written out to cash that he had not authorized.

“It was close to a third of what my yearly budget would be,” he said.

According to Galvin, NPC-TV experienced severe financial problems during the period. He noticed that he was coming up short on budget, and was sometimes told by Snow’s accounting agency that he did not have enough money for the payroll.

The setbacks forced the station to borrow money from the towns and put off equipment purchases.

Galvin said he brought in an auditor to investigate the shortages in March 2007.

“It confirmed our suspicions,” he said.

Snow opened his business with partner Joe Vaillancourt in Norway in 2001. According to Mark Akerberg, another accountant who occupies Snow’s former offices, the business moved to Paris in 2005. It provides tax and business consulting, payroll services, accounts receivable, business plans and loans. It is also authorized to sell mutual funds and some Primerica financial services.

Besides his time as selectman, Snow served on the Norway Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Norway Revitalization Group, the executive board of the Growth Council of Oxford Hills, and the Norway-Paris Solid Waste Board.

Galvin says NPC-TV opened 10 years ago. He has been working as its station manager since 2000. He says his work with the investigation has inhibited the station’s activities.

“It’s brought all of my operations to a screeching halt,” he said.

Residents are able to vote on the funding at their annual town meetings. NPC-TV serves Norway, Paris, Waterford, and Oxford, though only Norway and Paris contribute to its financial support, Galvin said.

The station’s programs include school concerts, Oxford Plains Speedway racing and community meetings.

“Hopefully, we can move on from this,” said Galvin of the incident.

Sun Journal editors Judy Meyer, Mary Delamater and Scott Thistle contributed to this report.

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